General Eligibility for Strike Exemptions by Being Pregnant

Created on: 17 Apr 2024

“That this AGM instructs Council to develop a ready reckoner to be added to the EIS website in future industrial action campaigns that would allow those seeking exemption from strike action for pregnancy to enter their personal EWC and self-determine their eligibility for exemption and thereafter apply for exemptions in the normal way.”

General Eligibility for Strike Exemptions by Being Pregnant

It is generally accepted that workers lose income for the days that they take strike action. Unfortunately, if pregnant workers take strike action and thus lose income during a certain part of their pregnancy they suffer a reduction in the maternity pay that they receive later.

This means that pregnant workers suffer pay deductions during the strike and for up to 9 months afterwards  with reduced maternity pay. To avoid this unfairness, at a time when the family needs the income the most, the EIS exempts pregnant members from strike action if the strike action clashes with the period in which their future maternity pay is calculated.

Teachers’ Occupational Maternity Pay and Statutory Maternity Pay are paid according to a pregnant worker’s average weekly wage in the 8 weeks preceding 15 weeks before the EWC (expected week of confinement).

In general

  1. Identify your Expected Week of Confinement (aka your due date)
  2. Identify the date 15 weeks beforehand – Date X
  3. Your pay during the 8 weeks before Date X is used to calculate your Maternity pay. This may straddle three pay months.
  4. Do not take any strike action for the calendar months in which any part of the identified  8 weeks before date X sit.

Example for Member A:

Strike Action is called for April 1 and May 1.

  • Expected week of Confinement for Member A  begins 17 July.
  • Fifteen weeks before 17 July is 3 April i.e. Date X
  • Member A’s maternity pay is calculated for the 8 weeks before 3 April i.e. 7 February to 3 April. This period covers the monthly pay of February, March and April.
  • Member A is exempted from strike action for the months of  February, March and April. 

The same principle applies to adoption and surrogacy leave. 

Statutory Maternity Pay Calculator

The SMP calculator will enable members to work out if they could be affected based on their actual maternity and pay dates.